Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sesame paste

Hello everyone, I had the most delicious meal earlier this week at a place in McMahons Point called Delicado. It's Spanish (yes, I do love all things Spanish) and everything was perfect. I think the highlight for me was a plate of jamon, that was just served with a few drops of very good oil and some bread. Quite perfect. The churros with chocolate sauce and a big dollop of caramel was pretty good too, I have to say...

All of which has nothing to do with this week's recipe which is more Middle Eastern. It is a very versatile sesame paste which is great served with anything grilled, or on a mezze plate with dolmades, Turkish toast and other bits and pieces. It is a recipe from one of my favourite food writers, Matthew Evans, and is yummy, perfect for brightening up a mid week dinner one of these warm summer nights. The pomegranate molasses gives it some zing. You can find pomegranate molasses at delis or Harris Farm Markets and you really should have some in your pantry, it's such a useful and delicious ingredient.

Have a wonderful week! Love from Jane xx

Sesame paste

Makes close to one cup

What you need
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 60-80ml water

What you do
  1. Stir the tahini and pomegranate molasses until well combined.
  2. Add the sesame oil and lemon juice to thicken.
  3. Gradually stir in the water and more oil to thin down the sauce again, until it's a loose paste.
  4. Serve however you like, drizzled over food or in a bowl for dipping, or as a sauce next to something grilled.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Roasted vegetable, rocket and feta salad

Hello everyone, I know that cooking is probably the last thing on many people's minds, but when it's so hot that you don't want to do anything at least it's comforting to have a nice home cooked meal, especially if it's one you have prepared earlier. Then all the work is done and you can sit and relax!

Mind you, I had dinner during the week at one of my all time favourite places, the Three Weeds at Rozelle. They have a great bar menu and I have never been disappointed. When I was there this week I chose the lamb with yoghurt sauce and couscous. Very much the sort of thing that I would cook for myself anyway, but I really felt like some lamb so went with it. It was beautiful! It actually tasted homecooked. So sometimes it does pay to go out and let someone cook for you.

I was planning to try out a fabulous Nigella chocolate sauce recipe on some dinner guests last night but they thwarted my plans by turning up with a cake! So that recipe is yet to be tested. It sounds so yummy and fattening that I don't dare make it when I don't have guests coming as I know I'll end up eating it all which would be disastrous!

Anyway, here is a fabulous salad that gives you lots of vegetables and is delicious.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Roasted vegetable, rocket and feta salad

Serves four

What you need:
  • 1 capsicum, quartered
  • 2 red onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 100g black olives (although I love green olives so you could use those if you prefer)
  • Wild rocket leaves
  • 125g feta, sliced
  • Some extra virgin olive oil for serving

What you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 220C.
  2. Combine capsicum, onions and garlic in a large roasting pan.
  3. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and gently toss to coat in the olive oil.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes and then remove any that are nice and crispy. Do keep any eye on the garlic as you don't want it to burn.
  5. At this point add the tomatoes and olives to the pan and return the vegetables to the oven and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until still just warm.
  7. To serve, arrange the vegetables on a serving dish. Top with the rocket leaves and feta. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve. The garlic should be all nice and gooey, so when you are eating the salad you can sort of squish it into the other vegetables and feta.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prawn cocktail

Hello everyone, isn't it great that we are finally getting some good hot summer days? I went down to the beach one night during the week for a walk around 8.00 pm and the place was packed - I had to wait ten minutes for a park! This kind of weather puts me in mind of prawn cocktails. When I was little we used to have family holidays with friends at their house at Lake Macquarie, and Patsy, the hostess, initiated me into the delights of the prawn cocktail. We would buy fresh prawns at the co-op during the afternoon, then go back to the house and peel a big mountain of them. I returned to this dish during the week as it's such a quick and easy one for mid week dinners. I experimented with the quantities for the sauce and think I have it just right, but of course, you should adjust the quantities to your taste.

Have a fabulous week, love from Jane xx

Prawn cocktail
Quantity for one - multiply as needed

What you need:
  • Whatever type of lettuce leaves you like, watercress would be nice
  • 10 king prawns, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Lemon or lime quarter
What you do:
  1. Shred the lettuce and arrange in your serving bowl/glass.
  2. Arrange the prawns on the lettuce.
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and drizzle over the prawns.
  4. Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kirsch marinated berries

Hello everyone, I am very excited because I am going to see Peter Pan with my nieces today. We are going out to somewhere called Newington Armory, at Homebush Bay. I decided to pack a picnic lunch and went to my local shopping centre to buy the bits and pieces. Not the best choice as the one bakery there has rubbish bread, but with not a lot of time to spare I thought it would do. I couldn't believe it when I walked into Woollies on my last stop at the shops and found that they are now stocking my favourite bread in the world, Brasserie Bread. I contemplated chucking out the rubbish rolls I had bought and picking up a loaf of Brasserie sourdough, but decided that rolls were easier for a picnic as I think there are rules about carrying knives in public places. Well, I'll know next time where to head for my fresh bread.

This week's recipe is absolutely gorgeous for entertaining on a hot day and hopefully we will see a few more such days (doesn't feel like it today). It's also really pretty. It's another recipe from my Summer SOS book which is full of great ideas for fresh produce.

Have a wonderful week. Love from Jane xx

Kirsh marinated berries

Serves 6

What you need:
  • 600g mixed berries (as many varieties as you can find)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100ml kirsch

What you do:
  1. Hull the berries if necessary and slice the strawberries lengthways.
  2. Put the berries in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and kirsch and toss gently until lightly coated.
  3. Leave the berries to marinate for 2-3 hours, stirring from time to time to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Divide the berries and juices among six serving glasses or bowls.
  5. Top each with a scoop of icecream and serve immediately.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mozzarella and olive crostini

Hello everyone, my sister just dropped by with some of her beautiful home made pesto, made with her home grown basil, and some of her home grown tomatoes. I can't wait to try the tomatoes, I'm sure they will be luscious. And as I have mentioned before, I am always so grateful to have a store of her pesto in the freezer for the nights when I get home late and want to whip up something quickly. I have some goats cheese in the fridge so I can see a lovely Italian dish coming together with these three elements.

In a similar vein is this really simple idea for crostini. I have made this for myself for dinner but it would be great to serve to guests and can be thrown together very quickly. I buy this really nice olive paste at Arena's Deli in Mosman. I think they make and package it up themselves and I haven't seen or tasted another olive paste elsewhere that is so good. You can get it in either black or green variety. The recipe is yet another from my SOS Summer book.

Have a lovely week! Jane xx

Mozzarella and olive crostini

Quarter 3 roma tomatoes, drizzle with really good extra virgin olive oil, season and grill under a low heat until softened (or roast in the oven). Spread black olive paste on 12 toasted slices of sourdough, add a tomato quarter to each and gently press on top of each crostini 2 slices of a good fresh mozzarella (buffalo if you can get it). Briefly grill to allow the cheese to melt and decorate each crostini with a sprig of flat leaf parsley before serving.